Microskiff

Small skiff, solo skiff, personal motorboat, car top boat, portable boat – all these are characteristics of a personal microskiff.

Motorized kayak or microskiff?

The current trend in fishing kayak design is to produce kayaks that are increasingly wide and heavy, and no longer qualify as car-top boats but rather as microskiffs or small boats that require a trailer. This defies the purpose of kayak fishing, but some anglers opt to purchase and use these boats.
The question is, how practical is it to motorize these excessively big kayaks?
It turns out that most large-size fishing kayaks can be outfitted with electric trolling motors that are mounted either on the side or in the middle of the kayak – right in front of the user. It’s not the most practical setup, but some anglers need this extra propulsion power to get where they want to fish, or get back from there, since paddling long distances isn’t for everyone. Some are outfitted with an electric motor mounted in the back, at a big distance from the driver, which isn’t very practical when you go in shallow water where weed and grass are commonly found, and these tend to get entangled in the propeller.
As for outboard gas motors, we haven’t found a single fishing kayak that offers an acceptable solution for an outboard gas motor, as such motors must be stern mounted due to their weight, and mounting a motor that far behind the driver doesn’t work well, for various reasons related to steering, convenience and safety.
The only fishing kayak that can be flawlessly motorized is the Wavewalk, as we’ve already mentioned here.

Wavewalk has recently introduced a set of accessories that enhance the performance of its patented catamaran kayaks in terms of motorizing, and turn them into high performance car-top motorboats, or in other words – personal microskiffs. The difference is not just in the improved performance, but in the looks as well –
With its new, black, inflatable side flotation modules, the new W570 INF 20-15 looks like a rigid-inflatable boat (RIB), which is a type of boat commonly associated with high speed and rescue operations.
The new transparent spray shield makes this little boat look like a marine motorbike, or a twin-hull personal watercraft.

This movie shows this new model in action in the ocean, in choppy water:

Being able to drive this microskiff while standing is not just a useful feature – it’s a lot of fun.  Being able to launch it almost anywhere, without needing to use a boat ramp is a huge plus, and its light weight makes it easy to car top – There’s absolutely no need for a trailer for this craft.

Interestingly, the spray shield is detachable, and it can be removed within seconds if you find that it’s in your way when you fish – After all, this boat offers its user to fish from the front, and not from its sides.

In sum, we see a noticeable upgrade in what Wavewalk offers in the market for portable fishing motorboats.

New speed record for a motorized W fishing kayak

Kenny “One-Shot” Tracy, a W kayak angler from Maryland, broke the speed record for a motorized kayak of the W500 series. He outfitted his W fishing kayak with a 6hp outboard gas motor from Tohatsu.
This powerful engine weighing 57 lbs empty propelled Kenny’s kayak at 13 mph in Chesapeake bay, at 1/3 throttle:

The kayak was stable and its driver stayed dry, and Kenny reported neither tracking nor steering problems.
Before starting his speed tests, Kenny outfitted his W kayak with side flotation.
The motor is mounted on a TMM 20 Wavewalk transom motor mount.

This successful test further reinforces the notion that when motorized, the patented catamaran kayak from Wavewalk can serve as a personal motorboat, or car top microskiff.

Designing a kayak for photography

Some kayak manufacturers claim that certain kayak models they offer are suitable for photography (I.E. wildlife photography).  While it’s possible to shoot pictures out of such kayaks, categorizing them them as suitable for wildlife photography is more wishful thinking than solid reality, regardless of such kayaks being sit-in, SOT, or hybrid canoe-kayaks.
Some fishing kayak models are very wide, and as such they offer a higher degree of lateral stability than similar designs that are just Touring or Recreational kayaks, but other than that, such ultra-wide kayaks fail to provide wildlife photographers with what we consider to be a basic package of services.
Such basic package includes adequate stability, of course, and the ability to paddle standing and shoot photos while standing with no ifs and buts. Needless to say that photographers who spend long hours (and sometimes days) paddling their kayaks and shooting from them cannot enjoy doing so if they use a kayak that forces them to be seated in the non-ergonomic L position, which is the traditional kayaking position in which the kayaker’s legs are awkwardly stretched in front on them, and the lower part of their body is encased between a set of footrests and a backrest that compresses their lumbar spine in a horizontal direction.

Plentiful dry storage space is essential for outdoor photographers who go on a kayak photography trips since they  usually carry a lot of expensive photographic equipment with them, including cameras, tripods and lenses.

It goes without saying that being able to launch, travel and beach the kayak in aquatic environments that are not necessarily accessible due to shallow water, vegetation and all sorts of obstacles is a substantial advantage, because such environments tend to be rich in wildlife. This requirement means that heavy kayaks are out of the question, and this rules out most wide fishing kayak models, as well as other kayak models labeled as touring kayaks that fail to pass the mobility test phrased by Wavewalk as “launch, go and beach anywhere”.
Excessive size and weight make some kayaks irrelevant if only because they are so hard to car top and carry over long distances.

Taking into consideration all these technical requirements as well as others, the only kayak that can deliver an acceptable performance in terms of photography is Wavewalk’s W500.

Additional, in-depth insight about kayaks for photography >